Steward Well

(Honestly) part of the blessing in being a stay at home mom, for me, is that I am not a morning person (soooo it’s rare we go anywhere very early.) This morning, however, I filled in as the mops coordinator at our church. My husband got the boys ready and brought them to the church when he came to work and they went to their mops class. 
As I was backing out of the drive way, Drake stood in the front windows to wave and mimicked every kiss blow and wave I gave to him. He looked like an 18 month version of himself. Passionately saying bye to me and throwing out some sad faces bc this isn’t our norm. My memories on Facebook today showed me his first steps 5 years ago. 
How is the human heart capable of sadness over our children growing AND AT THE SAME TIME pride and joy over our children growing!?!? I totally know that’s only a mix of emotions God sets within our hearts in order to appreciate His complex way of loving us with grace and mercy. 
I’m so sick and really exhausted but we managed to grab lunch at Cracker Barrel bc dad usually has lunch meetings and didn’t today. I will say, my heart pounds equally big time as I watch my husband raise and lead our boys. It was hot and I was tired and they asked to play and I plopped down in a rocking chair and my husband squatted right there and taught them how to play. 
Feeling the weight of expectations I put myself is deceptive and unworthy of sharing space in my heart with the grace of Christ. Walking in freedom that He guides and provides what we need to parent these children brings a new measure of the gospel and love each day to lavish on them and one another. 
Let go of the confusion (He doesn’t author confusion) and the overwhelmed feelings (because He is sufficient), and do whatever comes next in the day to be a good steward of His blessings:: relationships, possessions, and responsibilities. 

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my blind spot is multiplied

There are so many reasons why it is hard for the human heart to be vulnerable. But the “let’s just be real” reason for me most of the time is my great want for authority, respect, & admiration. I told you I was getting real. I could put that blanket reason out there-pride. That generic description doesn’t get to the root of my sin though, that word just give my root sin a label.

When it comes to conviction & sanctification, wouldn’t it be soooo much less excruciating if the Spirit just pierced out hearts? I mean, I would rather the Spirit deal with me right down to the heart….just me & all alone. I’m a coward at heart.

But He knows far deeper ways to permeate my soul & flesh. It’s far more sifting, sanctifying, & lasting for Him to go about dealing with my heart by actually utilizing the very depths of what make my church.

Let me just try to face it, I’m like my 3 year old when it comes to obedience to the Lord in becoming more like Christ. I’m going to grunt, growl, stomp, run away, cross my arms, and scream when it’s hard for some hard obedience. Especially the kind that requires a change in me & from me.

Here’s how He reveals my blind spots. He uses my husband & children. CRINGE.

Not fair, says the immature 32 year old wife and mom.

I was looking in my rear view mirror to change lanes & I thought, I rarely even use my rear view mirrors. It was busy traffic & I desperately needed to change lanes. I want to make sure those blind spots were clear.

Instant parallel. I wanted to make sure my family was safe, so I checked my blind spots. Same principal in life. When He’s leading & speaking, check my blind spots. Where am I missing Him and where I am trying to just “make things work” by just weaving in and out of traffic? Jumping around in life and not really being intentional (buzz word I know, so TRY to think about the reality of that in relation to what I’m sharing).

We love people. We love serving. This is what God uses to purge the sin from our flesh. This side of Heaven, He will not ever finish sifting us. I’m thankful that He pursues me hard and constant to purge the sin. It may take so very long in some places, but He never gives us. I must learn to not give up checking my blind spots. My blind spots are usually revealed by my relationships with my husband and children. As much as I would love for them to not have to learn of my sin or be a part of the purging thereof, I’m grateful for the great testimony they are of God’s grace.

They love me just the same.

Psalm 103

Of David.

Praise the Lord, my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
    and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord works righteousness
    and justice for all the oppressed.

He made known his ways to Moses,
    his deeds to the people of Israel:
The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
    slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
    nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
    or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
    so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

13 As a father has compassion on his children,
    so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed,
    he remembers that we are dust.
15 The life of mortals is like grass,
    they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
    and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting
    the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
    and his righteousness with their children’s children—
18 with those who keep his covenant
    and remember to obey his precepts.

19 The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
    and his kingdom rules over all.

20 Praise the Lord, you his angels,
    you mighty ones who do his bidding,
    who obey his word.
21 Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts,
    you his servants who do his will.
22 Praise the Lord, all his works
    everywhere in his dominion.

Praise the Lord, my soul.

the hard decision

The hardest decision is to let someone else decide, sometimes.

I’m so thankful my husband makes decisions.


We both make decisions all day. Some big. Some small. Some important. Some just preference. Some of our decisions effect each other and our family. Some don’t.

It is a great responsibility & accountability to defer to my husband.

 It is responsible for me because scripture calls me to acknowledge and respond to him as the head of our family. It is responsible & accountable for me to defer to him because I am called to teach and exemplify what it means to be a biblical woman in my marriage. Scripture calls me in Titus to show younger women. I’m also responsible & accountable to defer to my husband so that my children grow up with a discerned view and understanding of their role in marriage…and life.

There is great unity in trusting my husband. 

Trusting my husband draws me closer to The Lord because I’m ultimately trusting The Lord IN my husband. There is great unity in trusting my husband because this shows him, above all the voices and chatter of the world and my deceitful heart, I choose to believe & follow him. There brings great confidence for his present decisions and whatever may come in our future. I intentionally married a man with whom I agreed with in the realm of money, sex, theology, and calling. Within those realms are vast degrees of opinions and preferences. Where we don’t agree or even know if we agree, we talk, pray, think, and talk some more. Of course we have intense moments in our marriage. We have moments of frustration and confusion. Then, like all other areas of my life, I’m convicted and humbled. We come together and talk again. After the strife. After the rebellion of my heart.

Other times-it’s easy to defer to my husband. There are just some decisions that I’m glad I don’t have to make. My role as the female in our marriage bears great responsibility.

 I don’t have to assert myself and take control in places where I’m not called to in order to be important and necessary in our marriage. I am already necessary.

 I am already valued and worthy and needed. For the places I don’t have to or need to be responsible and the decision maker, I will gladly turn to my husband.

For all the ways this culture and world speak up about how men are not men and they are boys and they aren’t stepping up, I question whether they’re being asked or allowed to? We judge them for not being leaders. Yet we aren’t acknowledging the training and support it takes to be a leader. Anyone can be a bulldozer & tell others what to do. It takes a servant with humility and grace to lead well. Those are not qualities that come naturally, nor are they attained by a “just be it” attitude. It is a difficult, weighty opportunity to lead…peers, employees, a family.

So for all the ways women wrestle with their biblical role of what a wife is called to be and do, the men in our life have an equally valuable and difficult calling on their lives and responsibility. 

Our journeys and calling as women and men are very different and vary individually, but are deeply necessary.

When we are obedient to Scripture’s defintion, we are satisfied.

sphere of existence

today i saw a plea from a few different people on facebook. it was a request for prayer for a mutual friend who was having a brain tumor removed today. and i’m upset my flat iron bit the dust. i mean really.

i went on with my day. my husband took the boys to my parents, where they go every tuesday morning. around lunch my mother in law picks them up and they spend the day with my in laws. after they take the boys to dinner, they bring the boys home. it’s my day “off”.

i take a LONG time to get ready and enjoy no interruptions. today was a day i realized in this process i was out of a LOT of toiletries, make-up, beauty items, etc. i started pondering how and if i would be able to replace those with where we are in our budget.

i have no idea why or how the Lord pricked my heart, but He did.

she’s having a brain tumor removed. i was brushing my hair and looked in the mirror as to ask myself, “who? what are you thinking about?!”

then i remembered the few posts i saw about this woman. so i stopped and prayed.

i prayed. intentionally. fervently. for her, her husband, if she had children…healing, recovery.

not only did i want to pray for her. but i wanted to honor her testimony. she and her family are going through something so hard. if and when i go through hard things i ABSOLUTELY want others to be encouraged. i want the gospel to be very present. i want the gospel spoken and experienced.

we are humbled and faithful when we LET others impact us. when we open our hearts and let someone’s story speak to us. everyone’s sphere of existence is useful. it is meant to be used. there is purpose to my sphere of existence. if i desperately want others to benefit from my story, i most definitely want to be accountable to let their story and journey speak to me and stir my affections for Christ.

so i’m still praying for her. i don’t know her or her family. but we have mutual friends on facebook. i just saw an update that she is doing well. praise the Lord.

don’t worry about being involved, even if it’s just through proximity, in someone’s life. don’t worry that it will be messy. relationships are messy. walking with Jesus and seeking to be like Him is messy. that’s where the joy comes from, He chooses us.

Defintions Matter

I have seen so many posts lately on Facebook that give the details to life, or so they seem. It is words of “wisdom” or “how to do it right”.

I became convicted after seeing a post because I thought to myself, I wonder if I post in a way that seems arrogant? So, I took a look back at my posts. It was a neat time of reflecting, because what I saw what a definition of my self. I saw what is most important to me (or who is most important to me), where my focus is, and what motivates my spirit. I saw some things I didn’t like or that I thought weren’t pertinent to sharing socially. So I was able to sift through and decide on a purpose for my social media connections.

I was confident in my social media self because it is a real reflection of who I am and the Lord has done a unique work in me during the past 5 years to give me freedom and security in myself. All people need and want that. I’m a work progress, everyone is, and it’s ok. It’s ok to be a work in progress as long as we’re working and progressing.

As I was reading these posts, my concern came from whether our hearts seek to admonish and encourage…or condemn. Sometimes when I read someone’s “wisdom” it comes across as condemnation. Mainly because it appears as a command and order, rather than a personal conviction of their work in progress. The world and the enemy do their best, and sometimes rather successfully, to condemn us. I doubt we need an acquaintance on facebook to do much more. But when we share, out of our own walk, experience, and working in progress, others are encouraged and admonished. They see our love that is Truth spoken through our work in progress.

Encourage::to inspire with courage, spirit, or confidence

Admonish::to caution, advise, or counsel against something.

Condemn::to express an unfavorable or adverse judgment on; indicate strong disapproval of; censure.

This does not go without saying, we cannot effect how someone reacts or responds to our words. But we can be diligent to share the truth in love without condemning. And when we have something to say, we say it to the individual (Matthew 18) and they know we are seeking to love them and hold them accountable (while we, ourselves, are vulnerable to be held accountable, also).

On the contrary to these thoughts, I have been so edified by watching others via social media. Other moms, who have more kiddos than I, walking faithfully through motherhood and boldly walking into new seasons with their children that I have yet to trod. Other marriages as they navigate what it is to walk in biblical healthy marriages. Our college students as they maneuver a much more difficult society than when I was in college and working and seeking the Lord. It’s motivating to watch, via social media, others who are close and far away, as they show their work in progress and do difficult things and make hard decisions, all the while sharing with all of their “friends” on facebook what life looks like for them. Being a good steward involves all of our lives. Even social media. Are we stewarding our opportunity to be real, yet graceful, on social media?

We have more today than ever to be responsible for, and this more includes social media. I’m convicted of the ways I let it steal life from me, yet motivated to use it as a tool to connect and share using my gifts. Everything is a conduit for sharing the gospel, will I press into that opportunity even with social media?

what’s your motivation?

i’m so convicted.

being a believer is messy. you’re called to be involved in the lives of others and accountable for your own growth and character. it is hard work and takes diligence with discipline and a fervent prayer life. we all stumble and falter because we are in the world with vast amounts of distraction. the Lord has put people in your life to edify and by which you may be challenged. but with that diligence and discipline comes new growth, opportunity, successes, and changed lives. being a part of that is messy too. but Jesus didn’t take breaks to do other things. being like Christ doesn’t come with breaks or time-outs. He’s with you during the highs, lows, and in-betweens. and He ordained them. attempting to do life without Him or aside from Him will bring disappointment and frustration as you create your own wildernesses instead of walking through the Lot He’s given you and claiming the freedom He has for you as you’re sifted. let your YES be YES and your NO, NO.

Jesus didn’t invest in people and love them for what they could/would do for them. what’s your motivation?

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? “I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.” Jeremiah 17:9-10 NIV

6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)

37 All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.[a] Matthew 5:37 (NIV)

12 Above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. All you need to say is a simple “Yes” or “No.” Otherwise you will be condemned. James 5:12 (NIV)

For better or worse

Post from my blog sharpexpressions that was written September 6, 2011. Drake would have been 10 months (almost 🙂

I posted a status on Facebook this weekend that said “I wish I could record Drake all day. His facial expressions are priceless & his mumblings in an effort to talk are going to be sweet memories once he’s talking all the time! He’s so much fun. So thankful we get to be stewards of him for now. What a perfect gift.”

I soon realized how far my understanding of this concept of stewardship has come. It has developed by way of difficult circumstances, joyous blessings, and moments of struggle.  I have come to a place of understanding this life is temporal and we are preparing for the eternal. Jesus healed many while He was on earth, but His healings were the the precursor to the ultimate, eternal Healing He was to bring.

I was 26 when I married by husband, who was 28 at the time.

We were by no means old, but we hadn’t just graduated college either. My singleness was a season. For better or for worse. The enjoyable times were the better and the lonely times were the worse. Let it be known that loneliness doesn’t disappear on the wedding day. The enjoyable times were filled with sporadic meetings with college girls, encouraging them, discipling them, challenging them, and all the while growing in my knowledge leaps and bounds. I was able to go where I wanted when I wanted. I was free to make decisions on a whim, change my budget (or not have one), I only had myself to contend with (with household tangibles…I’m not referring to huge matters of influence such as irresponsible, unstable, untrustworthy behavior, etc.) My schedule was my own. The lonely times were complete with silence in my bedroom. Moments of weeping to the Lord of my great desire to have someone in this life to care for and help (I had no real understanding of the magnitude of responsibility and accountability that desire held). There were days filled with question after question for God. **If you’re in this season, how are you treasuring, coveting, and utilizing this time? Are you a good steward of this season, for better and for worse? In the enjoyable times are pouring your time into whatever the Lord has for you now? (School, family, friendships, discipling, serving?) Are you using the lonely times to be sifted and refined for the Eternal purpose you are here to serve? The Lord quickly broke me with the reality that He doesn’t promise us marriage, children, friends, home, etc. He has a lot for us and we are to walk in this lot with grand thankfulness and resourcefulness.  He walks with you through these seasons to sanctify and purify you. Are you letting Him? He uses the seasons to make you look more like His Son..are you drawing nearer to Him?

These seasons are a grand picture that tie together little hills and valleys in our lives. He calls us to walk gracefully through EACH season and within that time frame we are to be good stewards of all that is in our sphere of existence. Wherever you are now, there are other people  in your life who benefit by watching (or should benefit) how you rest in Him and pursue Him.

Are you a good steward of your friendships? Some friends stay and some friends go. Is your time spent with them in such a way, that whether they stay or leave, you have no regrets?

  • Be graciously honest with them.
  • Meet conflict directly and concisely.
  • Apologize immediately where you must.
  • Forgive immediately where you must.
  • Go out of your way to meet their needs. It will return to you. (Don’t meet their needs with expectations or pay back in mind…Jesus doesn’t handle us in that regard.)

Are you a good steward of your relationship with your family?

  • Forgive them.
  • Honor your father and mother. It might cost so be prepared, but remember it is commanded for a reason and He will bless you and keep you in this area if you are obedient.
  • Get Christian counseling if your past necessitates it.
  • Make time for them.
  • Find ways to encourage them.
  • Bless them.
  • I am not naive to the fact there are some families where these actions are not possible. If you know the Lord and are surrounded by godly counselors, you know how to walk in this area. If you need help, ask a seasoned believer who is walking faithfully with the Lord. They will help you be accountable where you can be with your family and discern where you are not responsible.

Are you a good steward of your marriage?

  • Pray for your spouse.
  • Discuss Truth and theology
  • Be tender. Be aware.
  • Be affectionate.
  • Ask for forgiveness. Be forgiving.
  • Tell them good things about themselves first and then do it in public. Build your spouse up–it’s you and your spouse against the world at all times. If you’re in a battle with one another, you’ve lost your ally.

Are you a good steward of your children’s affections and their hearts? You only get a very short time with them.

  • Pray for them.
  • Pray with them.
  • Teach them Scripture.
  • Teach them obedience and faith.
  • Spend time with them above everyone else (except your spouse).
  • Model a healthy, godly marriage for them.
  • Be affectionate towards them and value their affection for you.
  • Tell them good things about themselves and then tell everyone else.

Are you a good steward of your time? Not a selfish time keeper.

  • Spend time first with your spouse, children, & family (quality time)
  • If you are single and without children, first spend time with your family, then your closest circles of friends.
  • Let your time be spend in prayer, reading the Word, Scripture memory, music, etc. Whatever stirs your affections for Christ and causes you to look more like Him.
  • Plan your time well. A calendar of your regular days’ commitments, monthly commitments, regular meetings & events, and other planned/scheduled happenings. Then fit other things into that frame. Be prepared for interruptions. The Lord will interrupt you and it’s an opportunity to be a good steward in another area (helping a friend, having faith when He allows inconvenience of a car break down, etc) of your life if you’re already a good steward of your time.

Are you a good steward of your finances? All that you’ve been given…is just that…GIVEN.

  • Recognize your WHOLE lot as being given.
  • Decide how to use what you’ve been given to honor Him.
  • Tithe.
  • Save.
  • Don’t overspend.
  • Pay off what you’ve already overspent, if you have.
  • Don’t make rationalizations for your wants. If you can afford it, be wise, if you can’t, be wise.

Are you a good steward of your possessions? Again, you’ve been given all that you have.

Take inventory of your possession.

  • Evaluate how it can be used to bless others. (A house can be a safe place for children from families who don’t know Christ, it can be a home away from home for a college student, etc. A car can be used to carpool for someone without a vehicle, to help families save money, or to give a child a ride with your family for a few minutes and be exposed to Christians if he/she is from an unchurched home.)
  • Don’t waste your possessions.
  • Take care of what you’ve got. It’s been given to you, cherish it.

The Lord blesses us with such enjoyable moments. However, there are seasons of hurting and struggling, too. How you respond to each is a reflection of your faith.

33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things (see Matthew 6:33 to know what “these things” are) will be added to you.